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Round Pegs & Square Holes
You can feel it,
pinching your skin
messing your hair
weighing on shoulders,
you don’t quite belong here
this just isn’t the fit.
It’s not quite round pegs
and square holes,
it’s jumping from one to the next
testing the infinite variety
of a city, a country, a world
looking for your own mark.
Some doors lead to stages
others into cages
pulling and slamming them
across every mark of the compass
looking for the right pile
to sort yourself into
the great adventure to get settled.
Becoming a Writer, a Guide
at the age of 12 start reading as many books by Ernest Hemingway as possible
at your 18th birthday, drink your first beer and convince yourself
- that you are actually Ernest Hemingway
- that you are intensely drunk
live 5 (five) years impersonating Ernest Hemingway 24 hours a day
at the age of 23, start writing your novel
after writing five pages, realize one of these 5 facts
- your life is not really interesting
- you are not in 1940
- you hadn’t been to World War II
- you don’t have a mustache
- you are not an enthusiast of pugilism, and being an enthusiast of pugilism is hardly a concrete possibility in the 21st century
then break up with your girlfriend
at your last meeting with your girlfriend, misquote T.S Eliot
well you know how it goes, April is the saddest month.
then walk mysteriously away
wearing a long black coat
now start drinking heavily
and grow a beard
continue writing your novel from those old 5 pages.
at the age of 30, send your novel to the most famous publishing house of the United Kingdom
after six months, receive the following email
Dear Mr. Bob Hemingway,
it’s a shame really.
you are now a writer.
I can’t shake the tension that has propped itself under the base of my ribcage— at the tip of the xiphoid process
It’s hard to tell in the mix of emotions what or who the culprit is.
Everything about my body is sensitive
every nerve is more aware
I try and think, but I can’t
I open my lungs, but I cannot breathe
there is a firm hand on things that are supposed to come naturally.
it’s as if, I’ve forgotten how to process my emotions
It’s been years and I’ve forgotten how to admire someone
how to convey my feelings
I put up my walls and I’ve become a part of a mystery
I’m becoming a case that cannot be cracked.
Locked up tighter than the gears that turn to free the safe
I want to be open
I want to free my heart
I want to remember how to be comfortable with another and not just myself.
I want him to help me remember who I am and how far I’ve come
It’s been years
I’m ready to reveal my inner self
The challenge is remembering how.
I’m an ornament.
Left on the mantelpiece
to be admired but
For eyes to pry. Never
feeling the warmth
of fingertips trace
my cold porcelain skin.
Until you came along.
You picked me up when
someone knocked me
off my perch. Left
You held me with gentile
hands. Took me with you
and fixed the cracks
in my contours.
Now I feel brand new
with you holding
my china heart
with such care
in your loving hands.
Cheers to a faux summer romance,
For I can’t even fool myself.
I tip my glass already knowing
This episode will be bad for my health.
I continue to sip anyway,
Drinking you up.
Your attention and touch
Constantly refills my cup.
[This potion will likely erode and corrupt.]
I Pause and reflect,
Does this binge even make sense
Knowing in my heart that we’ll end up as friends?
My choice in the matter; Yes, I know.
But believe it or not,
A warm summer night spent solo is cold.
So I drink; I drink fast to avoid the chill.
I’ll pay in the Fall if I have not yet been killed.
If a girl is raped in a forest
And no one is around to hear it
Did it really happen?
Or is it just
A drunken mistake
A slutty endeavour
The result of a skirt,
I feel like I woke this morning
To find Autumn had exploded around me
And planted new colours
In my sleeping eyes
Scream are muffled by damp leaves
As bodies shake for so much more than cold
And the ever watchful owl asks
“Who, who , who?”
Gets the blame
And who gets the shame?
Here today these shivering fingers trace orange leaves
And I wonder why death looks so beautiful
When we’re distanced
When the tears are someone elses
She said no.
She said no, she said no, she said no
As the leaves that clung so tight in fear of falling
To their roots
Really Really Big Sewing Pins and The Fabric of Time
What’s with this fucking tear
in the fabric of time, I want to know.
What’s with this gaping hole
in the history of losers, I’d like to find out.
Who’s responsible for this rip
in the first place, and who’s gonna sew
it back up—you tell me!
It’s nothing anyone cares to research
(except those pesky activists)
and nothing anyone knows how to fix
(especially not those pesky politicians)
so who can we trust with the needle and thread
and really really big sewing pins needed
to unfuck the space-time continuum?
God? He’s dead.
Nietzsche? He’s dead, too.
The oppressed? They’re nearly dead.
The dead? Ah! Perfect.
“ The husband wants to be taken back into the family after behaving terribly, but nothing can be taken back, not the leaves by the trees, the rain by the clouds. You want to take back the ugly thing you said, but some shrapnel remains in the wound, some mud. Night after night Tybalt’s stabbed so the lovers are ground in mechanical aftermath. Think of the gunk that never comes off the roasting pan, the goofs of a diamond cutter. But wasn’t it electricity’s blunder into inert clay that started this whole mess, the I- echo in the head, a marriage begun with a fender bender, a sneeze, a mutation, a raid, an irrevocable fuckup. So in the meantime: epoxy, the dog barking at who knows what, signals mixed up like a dumped-out tray of printer’s type. Some piece of you stays in me and I’ll never give it back. The heart hoards its thorns just as the rose profligates. Just because you’ve had enough doesn’t mean you wanted too much. ”—Poem Without Forgiveness, Dean Young
The Icelandic Language
In this language, no industrial revolution,
no pasteurized milk; no oxygen, no telephone,
only sheep, fish, horses, water falling.
The middle class can hardly speak it
In this language, no flush toilet; you stumble
through dark and rain with a handful of rags.
The door groans; the old smell comes
up from under the earth of meet you.
But this language believes in ghosts;
chairs rock by themselves under the lamp; horses
neigh inside an empty gully, nothing
at the bottom but moonlight and black rocks.
The woman with marble hands whispers
this language to you in your sleep; faces
come to the window and sing rhymes; old ladies
wind long hair, hum, tat, fold jam inside pancakes.
In this language, you can’t chit-chit
holding a highball in your hand, can’t
even be polite. Once the sentece starts its course,
all your grief and failure come clear at last.
Old inflections move from case to case,
gender to gender, softening consonants, darkening
vowels, til they sound like the sea moving
icebergs back and forth in its mouth.
seasonal affective disorder
staved the hum of the sun
under black juglan in bloom
these boys practicing their picknrolls
these girls bronzing their jumpshots
where there is a hoop i see iterations of youth
where there is a fountain i see thirsty united states
grass hill sloped to water trough, that is, a river
carry me home into sediments, water of gray east
i lute with a hand of dirt a mouth of air a mind of slate
this is a time when i am more myself when you describe me
this is why we argue, to work at love my love
no, i can’t undo what the high light will do to me, but
summer shaves the cotton sky pink for a few months
and i am i once more with piscine distinction
you, though, say what a whirr was that season,
impatient to do it all over again
We were hugged by the concrete and metal and glass
that made up this city of sins and forgivenesses.
We watched sinking sunsets and talked
until all the crystal-like stars dissolved and sunrise came.
We blew dandelions in the wind just to taste freedom
and keep adventure pumping through our veins.
We were absolutely stunned by sand-filled hourglasses
and spinning clock hands because time was a foreign concept to us.
The only time we ever cared about anyways
was the one we shared with each other.
Veiled picture frames cover
dusty floorboards, dirtied
with flour and brown water
A martyr’s song, bright
and light, full of lies that bloom
like deserted flesh in mason jars
Meek and melodic, I am sorry
for being as loud as your stereo —
I’ll give you magnolias as my calloused apology
Grandeur, it makes such a splash
doesn’t it? Doesn’t it peel back
like onion skin razor on the skin
human melting ripping biting cutting skin?
An ugly still life portrait of disdain
in the worried creases of your mother’s punched-out
eyelids, empty, she is ancillary and prosthetic
she is unreal she is fake always has been —
reel in honesty because lies will always slip through
I’m not made of, consisting of
sin. I am that martyr, that
bowl of plastic cherries melting in
the boiling heat, becoming the
unforeseen future in a single breath.
21 May 2013
For you on this day and those to come
What are we alone, we bones
and blood, we minds and hearts
animated then stranded on our rotating rock
to grow above the heavy handed, to walk
in search that reveals more than find
What are we in the darkness
but children, feeling our way blind
down these vacant yet familiar corridors
fingers poised to touch the light
we’re moving ever toward
Hope passes the blurred masses
on the streets wearing the face of a stranger
and so afraid to meet his eyes, they won’t know him
How fortunate the few that call him friend
and turn in bold degrees
to see him clear, to shift the shadows
of the past into the mist of their peripheries
How full my heart today, my friend, how light
How well-weighed with love for you
these words I write
When you look at me there’s ice in your eyes
harsh, cold, impenetrable
you scrape off my layers and make your way down
through the age-rings
straight into the very core of my being.
I can tell that you see it, if barely
you’re catching glimpses of my life, my soul
the countless men who came before
the scratches, the burns, the voices in my ear.
Have you felt their touch?
The fingers of men with money to burn
and an overgrown need to destroy.
The weeds of society, their tendrils unfurling
upwards along my limbs
pulling me down
there’s darkness and heat, and anger
in the way that they speak to me.
Why do I exist? why
am I so beautiful, they ask me;
such a pretty little thing.
To them, birds with broken wings are the only kind with value.
Why invest in something that can fly away?
You might call me Icarus, but the truth is
I never got the chance to fall.